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Outcry as Yahoo's Fantasy Football goes down on game day

The pain, the sorrow, the angst. Worse than being a Jaguars fan, Yahoo's Fantasy Football goes down -- in unknown circumstances -- an hour before kickoff Sunday.

2 min read
Game Time? Oh, no it isn't. Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

As I keep telling my engineer friend George, becoming hooked on fantasy sports is like obsessively frequenting lap-dancing clubs.

It's not real, and yet some people think it's a little more real than the real thing.

Imagine, then, how real the pain was among the throng of Yahoo Sports' Fantasy Football players yesterday, as they tightened their fists, girded their loins and bolstered their bravado -- only to discover that the site has not turned up for work.

Deadspin seems to have been first to notice that Twitter was filling up with Yahoo-targeted abuse -- none, one should add, coming from Donald Trump.

A typically self-expressive tweet was this from one Omar Zahid: "can i know why yahoo fantasy football is not working....i have f***ing vernon davis and reggie bush still on the bench f*** me."

These are sentiments that, I know, some fantasists will understand.

What is odd is that no one seems sure why such pain was caused. Yahoo Sports' Ken Fuchs sent an e-mail to all those who might have been affected by Alex Smith's concussion or the Oakland Raiders' conflagration and their inability to react.

It read, in part: "The outage started around noon ET (awful timing we know) and while our team was on it immediately we are still working on various pieces."

Fuchs added: "We will also use today as an opportunity to improve our setup so that we hopefully never have an outage like this again."

Today, the site has been largely restored -- players can at least load their teams from their PCs, while mobile apps are currently read-only. The emotional equilibrium of so many dependent humans, however, is another matter.

Many fantasy players depend on their game for their ego-bolstering. A good weekend can make them feel more intelligent and more alluring to members of their target sex.

I speak from the desperate experience I had in the early days of ESPN's Fantasy Basketball. I went to see the Golden State Warriors play the L.A. Clippers. When the somewhat mediocre Michael Olowakandi got his 10th rebound, I leaped from my seat.

Oddly, he played for the Clippers and I am a Warriors fan. However, he was in my fantasy team. At the end of the season, I realized what 'd become. I met a girl, went cold turkey and never went back.

Please, therefore, consider the intensity of this blow to the Yahoo brand. You can change CEOs and strategies. But mess with Fantasy Football and the concussion may never leave.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET